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Lobbying Experts Share Challenges, Opportunities, and Advice for 2024

by Amelia Zimmerman, FiscalNote

Lobbyists share the biggest areas of opportunity, main challenges, and best practices for 2024.

Government affairs best practices 2024

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It’s safe to say this won’t be a boring year for government affairs and advocacy professionals. Economic recovery is still underway, new technologies like artificial intelligence are rapidly encroaching on many white-collar professions, and more than 40 countries worldwide are holding elections.

Yet with disruption comes opportunity. We spoke to experts for their insights on the top challenges and opportunities facing advocacy and government affairs professionals in 2024.

During election years, a wider array of industries and interest groups becomes the focus of legislative sessions. This presents lobbyists with increased opportunities to proactively attract new clients since a greater variety of interests are engaged in the legislative arena.

Terri Reynolds, Managing partner
Levitate Legal

Opportunities for Government Affairs & Advocacy in 2024

Efficiency and insights gained through AI

Government affairs professionals are already leveraging AI to perform their jobs better. Whether it’s for analyzing, summarizing, and comparing bills, discovering trends and tracking behavior, or generating new ideas or content, AI can drastically improve your daily working life. In 2024, forward-thinking professionals will be looking into the many ways they can leverage AI for better performance.

“I think AI is tremendously helpful for tracking, analyzing, and communicating items going through the legislative process,” says Charlie Kolean, president of Strategic Political Management. These administrative efficiencies can help smaller teams keep up with a larger number of issues.

While many are worried that AI may change the dynamics of a field built on interpersonal relationships, experts recommend keeping these relationships strong in 2024. “The traditional relationships that this business is built off will never change due to AI,” says Kolean.

Pending bills close to being finalized

Many government affairs professionals hope that 2024 will see several pending bills “get to the finish line,” says Stewart Verdery, founder and CEO of Monument Advocacy. This includes bills such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization and several “noncontroversial bills of interest to particular industry sectors that don’t wind up in the news.” With these bills close to or over the line, you can focus more on the big-picture strategy.

Election season leads to long-term thinking

With the White House leadership up for grabs, Verdery notes that many companies are looking “not to impact policymaking this year but to look smart and be prepared for 2025.” Companies need to be prepared for all scenarios, understand the issues driving the agenda, and stay on top of the 2024 cycle.

Election season opens doors

"During election years, a wider array of industries and interest groups becomes the focus of legislative sessions,” says Terri Reynolds, managing partner at Levitate Legal. “This presents lobbyists with increased opportunities to proactively attract new clients since a greater variety of interests are engaged in the legislative arena."

Lobbyists should be prepared for unforeseen changes after the 2024 election. It’s either going to lead to hyper-partisanship on the right or the left.

Charlie Kolean, President
Strategic Political Management

Challenges Facing Government Affairs & Advocacy in 2024

Heavier workloads

FiscalNote’s 2024 State of Government Affairs Report revealed that government affairs teams are required to keep abreast of a growing number of issues, with 71 percent of professionals seeing an increase in the number of issues they are following, and 27 percent tracking more than 20 issues — no small feat. Globalization and a highly partisan Congress contribute to a working environment where seemingly every update matters, and with an election on the horizon, the workload will likely only grow from here. Leverage the power of AI-based tools to create efficiencies and make workloads more manageable.

Election uncertainty

Uncertainty is a defining element in any election year, and 2024 will be no exception. "Election years always come with national issues invading state space,” says Susan Kennedy, partner at Levitate Legal. “State lobbyists enter the election year sessions expecting more contentious issues that are substantially more partisan driven than in non-election years."

Verdery advises that government affairs teams prepare for every outcome of the election. “Do your work ahead of time to strategize for the results of the presidential, House, and Senate elections will mean, or it will be way too late in November,” he explains. You should get organized early in the year and be selective in your engagements, knowing that a steep workload is coming toward the end of the year. Stay on top of local, state, and national developments and continue building relationships in all corners.

No matter the outcome, it’s important to prepare for change. “Lobbyists should be prepared for unforeseen changes after the 2024 election,” Kolean says. “It’s either going to lead to hyper-partisanship on the right or the left.”

It’s important to communicate clearly with your internal and external stakeholders during this time. “Historically speaking, we see a lot of gridlock during election years, whether that’s with state legislators or the U.S. Capitol,” says Kolean. “It’s important to level-set with clients and let them know to expect some gridlock this year. The hardest thing will be having your issue prioritized. With everyone’s number one priority being re-election, make sure whatever you’re working on is seen in that context and can also ideally be passed in this environment.”

Technology regulation and AI

AI is here to stay, and so are the many governance and social concerns that come with it. Verdery warns that, in the modern age, “every company and every industry is a tech company or industry to a major extent — and AI just multiplies that fact.”

FiscalNote’s 2024 State of Government Affairs Report reveals that while Gen Z respondents are particularly worried about AI-induced job loss, millennials are most concerned about privacy, and Baby Boomers are primarily worried about transparency and accountability. AI-related lobbying has spiked nearly 200 percent amid calls for regulation. You should carefully consider the opportunities and risks that AI poses and implement these tools in your team accordingly.

"The use of AI is increasingly pervasive in policy and legal spaces,” Reynolds says. “I anticipate a rise in lobbyists leveraging AI for analyzing legislation, offering bill synopses, crafting white papers on key matters, and identifying compelling talking points to advocate for their clients' policy stances."

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

Two recent reports highlighted how much work remains to close DEI gaps in government affairs departments. Leaders must continue to work on closing these gaps in 2024; reducing turnover should be a key focus in government affairs, where personal relationships are key to influencing policy.

Getting up on the Hill is critical. Staff and members of Congress are eager to hear from industries, and it’s a missed opportunity if you’re not taking advantage of that.

Missy Edwards, Founder
Missy Edwards Strategies

Experts’ Tips & Advice for 2024

    Get face time with lawmakers

    “Getting up on the Hill is critical,” says Missy Edwards, founder of Missy Edwards Strategies. “Staff and members of Congress are eager to hear from industries, and it’s a missed opportunity if you’re not taking advantage of that.” Continue making connections to ensure your industry’s concerns are heard.

    Get their attention

    “The days of boring Word documents are over,” Verdery declares. It’s crucial to make your case with multimedia elements, like video and infographics, to stand out in a fast-paced age of information overload. “It’s got to be relatable, viewable, understandable content,” he says.

    Become a thought leader

    Establishing yourself as a thought leader is a useful strategy to stand out. “Write for fun, write about policy and politics,” Verdery recommends. “When we interview people [to work at Monument Advocacy], we insist on seeing writing samples of different lengths and types. Write on your own time beyond what your job requires.”

    Act with integrity

    Approaching every relationship with kindness is key, especially in the interconnected world of Washington, D.C. “You literally never know who you are sitting next to and who they know,” says Courtney Snowden, founder and president of Blueprint Strategy Group. “Be careful about badmouthing people, be very kind to people, and do what you say you’re going to do. It makes a huge difference in this business that relies so much on relationships and integrity.”

    Start at the state level

    “Achieving bipartisanship in a state legislature is sometimes much easier and cost-effective than doing it in the U.S. Capitol,” Kolean explains. “If lobbyists have big issues they want to achieve, sometimes it’s easier to focus on state legislators.”

    Accomplish Your Government Affairs & Advocacy Goals in 2024 with FiscalNote

    Preparing for and keeping track of anticipated political developments in an election year can be a challenge for government affairs and advocacy professionals, unless you have the right tools.

    “It’s important to have the right software in place to track the bills, what’s in committee, and track for specific clients,” Reynolds says. “That’s critically important … just so we can keep up with it all.”

    Whether your issues are at a federal, state, or local level, FiscalNote’s solutions give you an action plan to move the needle on your issues. Track policy, manage every interaction with stakeholders, and give your team maximum efficiency with collaboration and workflow tools so everyone is aware and on the same page.

    Ready to see for yourself?

    Discover how FiscalNote can help you manage your issues, stakeholders, and team’s efficiency in one powerful platform.

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